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Gafsa Beach debuts: Experts perplexed as desert lake suddenly appears

A mysterious lake appears out of nowhere in a desolate dry desert and folks are flocking to it in droves despite warnings from authorities that not enough is known about this lake to deem it safe to swim in. First there was sand and rocks without a drop of water and then seemingly overnight, a lake appears, according to Canada Journal on August 2.

Mysterious desert lake forms, but locals won't heed warning that water might harbor danger.
YouTube screen shot

This body of water is just the right size for the crowds who have come to take a dip to find some relief in the drought-stricken Tunisia desert. Experts have raised concerns about the lake’s origin and its water quality while the locals look at this offering as some type of a miracle.

Crowds have set up along the beach and people are swimming in droves. The biggest concern is that the water in this newly formed lake could be radioactive. The rich phosphate deposits in the area are the reason this possibility is very real.

The phosphate leaves residue that is sometimes “strongly radioactive.” A local Tunisia newspaper warns that the water may possibly be a carcinogenic with the phosphate deposits so close by. It also stressed concerns of the color change of the water and the fact that stagnant water could harbor disease.

When the lake first formed, the water was crystal blue, but it has since gone to a hazy green color. This indicates the water is stagnant, which brings up another worry that this body of water is a breeding ground for diseases, according to Observers France today.

The government put out a warning last week saying that the lake was unfit for swimming, but that did nothing to deter folks who wanted to cool off in the hot desert heat. The government is testing the water, but it did not put a ban on swimming while doing so.

As far as how the lake got there, no one seems to know. There are plenty of theories with the frontrunner being seismic activity in the area pushing up ground water forming the lake. The local phosphate mining industry perhaps jolted the water table and this lake may be the result of that.

As you can see in the video above the warning of possible radioactive and disease breeding water has done little to change the mind of people wanting to cool off. Hopefully when the water quality tests come back the theories coming from the experts of radioactive water are proven wrong.